When we went to Carmine’s for my dad’s 60th birthday a few weeks ago, we ordered linguine with white clam sauce, one of their signature dishes. It was delicious, but I’ve always preferred red clam sauce to white. So when a recipe for the former popped up in my inbox last week, as part of Whole Foods weekly newsletter, I decided to try making it myself. This recipe is practically foolproof. It requires few ingredients and, since the sauce only needs to simmer for 15-20 minutes, you can get dinner on the table quickly. Don’t underestimate the power of the crushed red pepper, however. I added a lot to my sauce and it was very spicy. Though the recipe calls for two 6 oz. cans of clams, I used one 10 oz. can which was plenty. I also added in all of the leftover clam juice to finish the sauce.
For pasta, I used DeLallo’s whole wheat organic fettuccine. Johnny’s not a stringy pasta fan, and fettuccine is a happy medium. I topped the dish with fresh parsley and served it with garlic bread, steamed artichokes and salad. Delightful!
Red Clam Sauce
1/2 pound whole wheat linguine or fettuccine
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, more to taste
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with their liquid
2 (6-ounce) cans clams, drained, liquid reserved
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain well. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion and garlic and cook until fragrant and starting to turn translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and tomatoes with their liquid. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook 8 to 10 minutes. Add clams, 3 tablespoons of the reserved clam liquid and black pepper. Simmer until sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add more red pepper and clam liquid, if desired. Stir in chopped parsley and pasta. Toss to coat pasta with sauce and serve immediately.